Last week at CES 2015, we got a sneak preview of the brand new CX series home theater lineup from the folks at Cambridge Audio. The British brand is looking to continue its mission of creating high quality gear at an attainable price point in 2015, and with a stout lineup of new pieces, including affordable receivers and amplifiers, and a premium network player that lands just below the $1,000 water mark, it looks like this could be a good year to go Cambridge.
CXN Network player ($999)
With premium internal components, hi-res audio support, and multiple ways to go wireless, the CXN Network Music Player is a fantastic choice for those looking for a convenient method to curate their entire audio library. The system offers playback of WAV, ALAC and FLAC files at up to 24bit/192kHz resolution, and claims to upscale low resolution tracks up to an effective 24bit/384kHz resolution. Beneath the sleek brushed-aluminum exterior lies a host of premium components, including a pair of the hallowed Wolfson WM8740 DACs for brilliant analog transference from the digital realm.
The device serves as a high-end pre-amp, and can be directly connected to an amplifier via analog outputs, either RCA or balanced XLR. Other features include an on-board LCD screen with album art display, Bluetooth streaming, and the latest version of the Cambridge Connect app for Android or iOS devices. The app offers intuitive remote control of your catalog, whether the music is hard-lined via USB, streamed from a smartphone or a UPnP media server, or auditioned from cloud services like Spotify Connect, Pandora, or other Internet radio sources. The CXN also supports AirPlay.
CXC CD Player ($499)
Going in the other direction, Cambridge’s CXC player is for those users who still like the old school playback capabilities of those shiny plastic discs. Features for the player include low-jitter playback, premium components, and clean digital output via toslink or optical connections designed for use with a premium amplifier.
CXA80 ($999) and CXA60($799) Integrated Stereo Amplifiers
At 80 and 60 watts of power per channel respectively, the A80 and A60 are designed to be the ultimate power plants to drive Cambridge’s new devices. Both units are claimed to have been designed from scratch, with new Class A/B amplifier circuitry for high efficiency. Both units are designed with separate symmetrical circuit paths to limit crosstalk between stereo channels, and the CXA80 is set up in a dual mono design, with separate transformers for each channel for ultra-clean power from each individual channel.
The A60 offers 9 inputs, including 5 analog and 4 digital, while the A80 adds an additional analog input, and an asynchronous USB input with a top input resolution of 24bit/192kHz. Both amps also send their digital input signal through a Wolfson WM8740 DAC for high-quality transference.
CXR 200 ($2,499) and CXR 120 ($1,999) AV receivers
At the top of CX heap are the CXR200 and CXR120 AV receivers. The CXR200 offers 120 watts per channel in a 7.2 output or 200 watts in stereo. The 120 offers about half the power, including 60 watts across 7.2 channels, or 120 watts in stereo. Both units offer a front panel HDMI input with MHL for mobile device connection and power, Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio decoding, as well as 4K video passthrough and upscaling of 1080p content.
Like the Network Player, both devices offer wireless access to multiple streaming services like Pandora and Spotify Connect, Bluetooth streaming, and control via the Cambridge Connect app.
The CXR200 brings on an additional HDMI input than its sibling for a total of 8, and adds on dual zone configurations, allowing for a full 5.2 channel zone two setup, or even bi-amping for front channels.
All of Cambridge’s sleek new CX series pieces are slated for availability within the first quarter of 2015.